The American Lung Association, the Sierra Club, Group Against Smog & Pollution (GASP) and six other organizations signed-on to a letter urging County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), to finalize the Cheswick Title V air pollution permit by the end of this year in order to reduce smog in the Pittsburgh region next summer.
The draft permit, which was supported by over 1,000 local petition signatures and about 70 community members at a public hearing in August, would reduce smog-causing nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution from the Cheswick coal-fired power plant by 75 percent compared to 2014 levels. This would also mark the first time the plant would be required to run its NOx pollution controls since installing them back in 2003, keeping area residents safe from dangerous smog levels which can trigger asthma attacks and force those with respiratory illnesses inside. The plant is currently the largest industrial source of NOx pollution in Allegheny County by a wide margin.
In response, Thomas Schuster, Senior Campaign Representative in Pennsylvania for the Sierra Club, issued the following statement:
“We applaud the ACHD and County Executive Fitzgerald for drafting a strong and protective air pollution permit for the Cheswick power plant, but their work is not yet done,” Schuster said. “Hundreds of thousands of Allegheny County residents are at risk due to poor air quality and this plant is the largest emitter of smog-causing pollution as well as mercury and sulfur dioxide in the area. This permit will help our region come into compliance with critical federal smog prevention safeguards. We are pleased that the plant will finally be required to fully utilize controls for smog-causing NOx pollution, and urge this requirement to take effect as quickly as possible so that 2016 is the last summer that Cheswick contributes excessively to our smog problem.”
|Other organizations signing the letter:
Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN)
Clean Water Action
PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center
Women for a Healthy Environment